Monday 31st - Sunday 6th
So on Monday morning Ben, Nicky and I were still at Karrongwe. We woke up to an empty dormitory, evidently all the volunteers had gone out on game drive or into town. So the three of us got up and had a bit of breakfast until it was time fro us to be taken back to the gate for Sebastiaan to pick us up. It was quite sad to say goodbye to everyone even though we had only been there a day, it was so much fun after all the boring studying that we had been doing and which was waiting still for us back at the farmhouse. But eventually we were on our way back, and Sebastiaan had chosen me to drive us back home. I was a little taken aback by this seeing as I was not wearing my contacts and in a bit of pain from all the mosquito bites that I got last night that I seriously was not prepared, but I drove anyway, then accidentally ran over a dung beetle and didn't see the elephant in the bushes…oops. Turns out I really can't see without my contacts! Well we got back at lunch time, after which we just spent the whole day studying for the assessment drives.
Tuesday was the first day of practical exams, and Ulla was first to go. She was out fro about 7 hours in total. The first 4 hours she was with 'guests and then JP and Margaux took her out to do some other stuff. Everyone was freaking out as to what was taking her sp long seeing as the drive had gone so well., but eventually she came back, a little overwhelmed but all finished. She found out later that day she had passed which was great news. In the afternoon I went on Sheldon's drive as a guest with a few others, and we went out on a really pleasant drive. However JP did not pass him for some unknown reason to us and so he has to redo his exam next week when he has had a little more time to practice talking to guests.
On Wednesday morning it was raining, and so after only an hour of Malcolm's drive we had to turn back to the farmhouse and postpone it until later on in the week. The weather cleared up by the afternoon and so Riaan was able to go out on his drive and the rest of us were able to go out on a mock game drive. We came across some lions on Jackalberry road which was awesome, as the cubs which have now grown up a lot were playing around and they were all drinking out of a puddle. It was nice to see them again, and we could do nothing but follow them because they were walking down hte road that we neededto take to get back to camp, so we had a lovely long sighting sitting behind them. Riaan was out for about 4 hours, but once they got back Riaan went for his debrief and came in to tell us the good news that he had passed!
I was Dan's tracker for his assessment on Thursday morning, and the drive went really well. I found a couple of tracks for him which he answered perfectly for JP, and as usual his bird knowledge got him a lot of brownie points! It was no surprise then that he passed, and it seemed that the class was starting to get more confident with everyone now passing, but then on the afternoon drive Nicky came back earlier than intended and was told she failed because of her 4x4 driving. It was such a shame because she had always driven so well on their drives, I think it was just nerves, but at least she gets to do her exam again and practice with the instructors to try and be less nervous.
On Friday morning it was Ben's assessment drive. A few of us went as guests, and he had a great drive. Despite there being not a single bloody animal around he managed to do so well with all the Scenarios and questions he was asked about them. At the tea break JP pulled me to the side and asked if I wanted to do my assessment drive this afternoon and that he would not ask if he thought I was ready and had noticed how hard I had been studying. I thanked him for what was probably one of the first compliments he had said to me. I politely declined as we had to a rifle exam in the morning so said that I needed to revise this afternoon. So we got back to Ben's drive, which unsurprisingly he passed with flying colours. That afternoon we just revised for the rifle exam the next day, and what with having not revised all week for it I was a little worried! We got the results of VPDA back from last week though and I managed a respectable 91%.
So Saturday morning we had the rifle exam, which surprisingly I think went rather well, then as usual we all went into town for lunch and just to chill out. Once we were home we had a braai as usual, then spent the evening playing Yahtzee and had a couple of drinks, it was loads of fun!
Sunday was just a whole day of studying. After everyone had emerged from their rooms and we had breakfast it up to the table and study time. There are still loads of people needing to do their practical exams so everyone was busy with their heads in books today. Fingers crossed things go really well next week too.